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Book Reviews

The Glorious Corner

The Glorious Corner
G. H. Harding
Stephen Bishop

AS BISH MASTERPIECE — As you might have gathered, I’m a huge Stephen Bishop fan. From “On and On” to “Careless” and “Separate Lives,” he’s just a magnificent wordsmith and performer. I caught him at Steve Walter’s Cutting Room, twice, and both shows were just excellent. He trumpeted his next album, We’ll Talk About It Later In The Car and it was finally released last week and without question, is one of the top ten albums of this year.

Bish calls this a collection of songs that should have been hits 40 years ago and he’s right. Having served in the music industry for decades, I can only say that there a myriad of reasons why a good record doesn’t work; promotion, publicity, corporate battles … the list is really endless. All the moving parts have got to be working the right way and if they don’t, then a really good record or song, just falls by the wayside.

The new album begins with “Almost Home” which is quintessential Bish.  It was the theme song to 2018’s Benji movie (written by Bish and Curt Sobel). It’s a particular standout and it’s everything that’s essential to a Bishop-song: mercurial lyrics and just stunningly beautifully. Truth be told, it’s on my song list for the year; along with Springsteen’s brilliant “There Goes My Miracle.”

Jimmy Webb’s “Someone Else” has been a standout in Stephen’s show for years as it’s at once beautifully performed and sad at the same time. Another gem from Webb for sure.

“In Dreams I Fly” is again just breathtaking. That’s the thing about Bishop’s lyrics; simply mesmerizing. This could be the best track on the album. Brilliant.

“French Postcards” and “In Love with A Violent Man” are two other standouts.

It’ll be interesting to see how this album does in the marketplace. Songwriters, and good ones at that, aren’t necessarily in vogue these days. Quality does persevere, so it’s quite possible that Bishop will be on the airwaves again. For sure, one of the best albums this year.

Also, readers of this column will know I’ve been anticipating this album for quite some time. The copy I received was not from Bish’s PR-team … manager …. or, record company, but from a friend who shared my excitement for this record, as well as my continuing disappointment over trying to obtain a copy from his so-called team.

I know the record business is in free-fall, but it’s amazing to me that an artist of this caliber has got to be subjected to, clearly, cost-cutting procedures. He deserves much, much better. Liz, Michael, Ryan … you know what I mean, right?

EURYTHMICS REDEUX — Annie Lennox and Dave Stewart will become Eurythmics one more time for Sting’s Rainforest Benefit on Monday, December 9 in NYC’s Carnegie Hall.

The last time Dave and Annie performed as Eurythmics was on January 27, 2014 for The Night That Changed America- A Grammy Salute To The Beatles.

Eurythmics last tour was the 1999 Peace tour off the back of their reunion (and final) album Peace,  which came 10 years after their We Too Are One album after which they went into hiatus for a decade.

This reunion is for Sting’s Sting & Friends We’ll Be Together Rainforest Fun 30th anniversary concert.

Bruce Springsteen, John Mellencamp, James Taylor, Bob Geldof, Ricky Martin, MJ Rodriguez, Shaggy and H.E.R. will also perform at the benefit.

The Eurythmics (Annie Lennox; Dave Stewart) were a huge band in the early 80’s highlighted by 1983’s “Sweet Dreams.”  Here’s hoping for a proper Eurythmics tour and album. They’re due.

PAUL BARRERE RIP — Little Feat guitarist Paul Barrere has passed away at the age of 71.

Barrere announced his battle with liver cancer just weeks ago.

In a statement the members of Little Feat have announced:

It is with great sorrow that Little Feat must announce the passing of our brother guitarist, Paul Barrere, this morning at UCLA Hospital. We ask for your kindest thoughts and best wishes to go out especially to his widow Pam and children Gabriel, Genevieve, and Gillian, and to all the fans who were his extended family.

Paul auditioned for Little Feat as a bassist when it was first being put together—in his words, “as a bassist I make an excellent guitarist”—and three years later joined the band in his proper role on guitar. Forty-seven years later, he was forced to miss the current tour, which will end tomorrow, due to side effects from his ongoing treatment for liver disease.

He promised to follow his doctor’s orders, get back in shape, and rock on the beach at the band’s annual gathering in Jamaica in January 2020. “Until then,” he wrote, “keep your sailin’ shoes close by…if I have my way, you’re going to need them!”

As the song he sang so many times put it, he was always “Willin’,” but it was not meant to be. Paul, sail on to the next place in your journey with our abiding love for a life always dedicated to the muse and the music. We are grateful for the time we have shared.

Yours in music,

Little Feat: Bill Payne, Sam Clayton, Fred Tackett, Kenny Gradney, and Gabe Ford.

Paul Barrere also worked with Robert Palmer, Bob Dylan, Taj Mahal, Jack Bruce, Carly Simon and Nicolette Larson. That is his guitar work on Nicolette’s cover of Neil Young’s “Lotta Love.”

Paul wrote Little Feat’s ‘Feats Don’t Fail Me Now’, ‘All That You Dream’, ‘Time Loves A Hero’ and ‘Down On The Farm’. He joined the band for their third album ‘Dixie Chicken’ was had been a member ever since.

SHORT TAKES — Robert Miller’s Project Grand Slam will appear at My Father’s Place early-next year; Thursday, February 27. It’ll be a star-turn for the band. I can say from firsthand experience, it’s the perfect venue for them …

Rocket Man: The Life of Elton John 

Next up for celebrity-author Mark Bego will be Rocket Man: The Life of Elton John in January; an updating of his earlier, excellent bio on Elton John … I’m going to see Bruce Springsteen’s Western Stars-movie later this week, but Tom Cuddy sent me a version of the Boss doing Glen Campbell’s “Like A Rhinestone Cowboy. Just beautiful. Take a listen: …

Christopher Cross and Wayne Avers 

Seeing Christopher Cross again has got me firmly back into his 1979 (!!!) hit “Ride Like The Wind,” with Michael McDonald on background vocals. In the Fifty Years Ago-show, those backup vocals were delivered by Jason Scheff. Brilliantly too. Here’s Christopher with guitarist Wayne Avers on the Fifty Years Ago-tour …

Wendy Stuart Kaplan

Wendy Stuart Kaplan is doing a reading with power-journalist scribe Michael Musto Monday night with Penny Arcade. btw: Kaplan got an early Halloween start with a pre-Halloween Cemetery Hike … and, AXS’ Mixtape show features none-other-than Micky Dolenz this Friday. I’ve seen the episode and its great.

NAMES IN THE NEWS — Kjersti & Jeremy Long; Tom & Lisa Cuddy; Wayne Avers; Craig Newman; Eppy; Barry Fisch; Van Dean; Christine Nagy; Jim Kerr; Katrina and Kent Moran; Ken Dashow; Scott Shannon; and, Ziggy!

Book Reviews

G. H. Harding is a four decades insider to the entertainment world. He’s worked for record companies; movie companies; video-production He’s worked for record companies; movie companies; video-production companies and several cable outlets. His anonymity is essential in bringing an unbiased view to his writings on pop culture. He is based in NYC.

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